Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Can the Lib Dems learn from the Church?

One of the obligatory truths of being a university student is that you become nocturnal. Staying awake until the small hours of the morning and rising just in time to get to your next lecture, even if that lecture is in the afternoon. It was on one of these nocturnal sessions that led me to watch ‘The Battle for Christianity’, written and presented by Professor Robert Beckford currently Professor in theology at Canterbury Christ Church University. This documentary took a look at where the heartbeat of Christianity is today, debunking the myth that church is still uniformly done to the keys of an organ.

As a practicing Christian, I have often perched myself on an uncomfortable pew, listened to the preacher, sat back and thought to myself, ‘the church and the Lib Dems are incredibly similar.’ This thought has occurred to me far too many times for me not to share it. Using ‘The Battle for Christianity’ and my own experience within the Liberal Democrats, I will seek to explain how to church has changed over my (relatively short) lifetime and what the Lib Dems can learn from this.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Lib Dem MPs split 3 ways over Sunday Trading laws

Our band of 8 split 3 ways last night in the Sunday trading debate which saw the Government defeated. That is not actually as bad as it sounds. Alistair Carmichael quite rightly decided it was none of his business as it was relating to England and Wales only. The SNP voted against, presumably to distract attention of the London media from the disastrous figures which showed that the oil price would have an independent Scotland with a massive £15 billion deficit. Maybe that will make people realise the bullet we dodged when we voted against independence. I won’t hold my breath, though. The SNP seem to be on a mission to upset England, too. Their excuse was that they were protecting workers’ rights in Scotland, a spurious assertion given that shop workers don’t generally get paid more for working Sundays, which are not restricted here. And if they were that bothered about workers’ rights, surely Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t be quite as snarky with Willie Rennie when he brings up working conditions at Amazon. Let’s not forget that SNP cuts to local government are going to mean thousands of council workers losing their jobs, too.

A cynic might think that they were actively creating such antipathy towards them in the hope that it would encourage England to vote to leave the EU, even though they are in favour of and are campaigning for a Remain vote. It’s like when they said they wanted Ed Miliband as PM last year but told everyone in England and Wales to vote for the Greens and Plaid.

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Lib Dems publish gender pay gap – or lack of it

For International Women’s Day, the party has published the gender pay gap for its employees. And it’s good news.

Liberal Democrats fought hard in coalition for large companies to publish the discrepancy between what they pay men and women to help close the gap of gender inequality in the workplace.

As of March 8th 2016 the annual gender pay gap for staff employed by Liberal Democrat HQ was 0.4%, with women earning more than men on average.

Liberal Democrats are working hard to encourage a better gender balance within the party and a motion on Electing Diverse MPs will be voted upon in its upcoming Spring Conference.

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Former BBC Director General: Liberal Democrats secured better settlement for BBC

Former BBC Director General Mark Thompson has told how the Liberal Democrats in coalition government secured a “different and better” settlement for the BBC. Now that the Conservatives are unmoderated, things are not so good for what many feel is the highest quality public service broadcaster in the world.

The Guardian reports:

Giving his his first interview about the BBC since he left in 2012, after eight years at the helm, Thompson said the broadcaster was having to pay for government policy. “It’s welfare … It’s totally inappropriate to use BBC to support social transfer in this country.”

When George Osborne tried to impose the same cost on the BBC during negotiations in 2010, Thompson started writing his resignation letter, along with several BBC Trustees. This July the current director general, Tony Hall, agreed to shoulder the burden in return for relief from other costs.

“In 2015 the political circumstances are very different and it is much tougher for the BBC. In 2010 it was the coalition government and the Liberal Democrats … played a very big part in securing a different and better settlement. That recourse has not been available to the BBC this year.”

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Liberal Democrats: born or conceived?

 

I recently attended a Southeastern Lib Dem conference where one of our members stated that Liberal Democrats are “born.” He further stated that Liberal Democrats do not choose the party, their values determine whether they are party members or not.

I assume that he was supporting our leader, Tim Farron’s, invitation for all of those who have liberal values in their hearts to join the party. While I, too, support Tim’s invitation and believe that there are many U.K. citizens and those living in this country who have and stand up for liberal values, I cannot entirely do away with freedom of choice. Where does this lead us? Does it mean that only those whose parents were Liberal Democrats can be Liberal Democrats? That would be a dubious strategy for increasing our numbers.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

“The Lib Dems in the last Parliament were far and away the most effective opposition of my lifetime”

British writer Edward Docx has taken to the pages of the Guardian to praise the work the Liberal Democrats did in the last Parliaemnt and how this will become very clear when George Osborne announces his Autumn Statement next week.

The 20,000 people who joined the party in the wake of our election meltdown know that, as do the voters who are turning back to us.

Docx made several key points about the Liberal Democrat actions in the coalition years:

There were two oppositions in the last parliament: Labour and the Liberal Democrats. And, this week more than ever, it is worth saying that only the latter made any difference to the real lives of real people. Why? Because they were in government.

Refuse, in other words, to allow Osborne’s self-serving narrative to present itself as the only story. And, of course, this is exactly what the Liberal Democrats were doing day-in and day-out during the last parliament on behalf of the majority of reasonable and none-ideological people who did not vote Conservative.

Danny Alexander has taken some stick in his time, some of it deserved, but he was able to hold the Tories back:

For every fiscal decision in the last government, the Liberal Democrats (through Danny Alexander) asked for a distributional analysis so that they could see where the pain of cuts would be felt – whether on the richer or the less well off. What this meant in practice was that every time the Tories attempted something that placed an unfair burden on the poor, the Liberal Democrats first illuminated the policy for what it was and then either blocked it (often repeatedly) or insisted upon a reciprocal burden being placed on the better off.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

So you want to be Liberal Democrat Party Treasurer…

…said very few people ever. However, there have been some bold and enterprising individuals who have taken the role on over the years, to whom we are extremely grateful.

The most recent incumbent was Lord Ian Wrigglesworth, who stepped down in September, so the party is seeking someone to fill this important role.

This isn’t about financial admin, book-keeping, financial strategy and telling people sternly that they can’t spend money we don’t have. That role is taken by the Chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, currently Peter Dunphy. It’s mainly about fundraising – making sure the party has the money it needs to fight campaigns strongly.  The ad on the party website explains more:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Raw 29th Apr - 8:17pm
    Nice to have a few crumbs - but how about going for the big fish ? : The Independent, September, 2013 "Vodafone's £84bn tax avoidance...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 29th Apr - 8:11pm
    Yes - get in there Tom. It's a major scandal that needs sorting.
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 29th Apr - 8:08pm
    With elections imminent BBC TV Question Time had a panel of five, one Tory MP, one Labour MP and one SNP MP, plus two others....
  • User AvatarStuart 29th Apr - 7:53pm
    @Stevan Rose "I’m pretty certain that if all 95,000 arrived tomorrow..." Fact: Of that oft-quoted 95,000 (a figure calculated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism),...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 29th Apr - 7:53pm
    Carl Gardner 29th Apr '16 - 4:52pm Please look into this more deeply. For instance are people allocated to parties? or do they join of...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 29th Apr - 7:49pm
    @David Evans “Thank you, David” That phrase gave me a sudden Spitting Image flashback.